Deauville – World leaders at the G8 summit in France have issued on Friday a joint call for the embattled Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to step down, the BBC informs. In a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day summit, the G8 also criticised Syria’s deadly crackdown on protesters.
In his comments at the end of the summit, the French President said the wording of the communiqué had been toughened and fully endorsed by the Russians. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that he was prepared to mediate Col Gaddafi’s departure, but he said Libya should be preserved as a single state. His statement appeared to indicate a closing diplomatic window for the Libyan strongman after 42 years in power. The head of Libya’s opposition National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Saturday welcomed the Russian statement, the CNN informs. Jalil said he has offered amnesty to Gadhafi loyalists who defect before the demise of the regime.
The G8 statement included plans for a USD 20 bln package for Tunisia and Egypt over the next two years. French President said USD 20 bln would come from multilateral institutions, such as the African Development Bank, USD 10 bln from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and USD 10 bln in direct bilateral aid from G8 countries -including USD 1 billion from France. According to the Montreal Gazette, Canada refused to commit to any country-to country aid, saying it has given sufficient funding since 2009 to multilateral institutions tasked to help the region.
Diplomatic sources were cited saying that Canadian PM Stephen Harper insisted there be no reference to Israel’s borders before 1967, when it seized the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt during the Six Day War. Harper neither confirmed nor denied the report when reporters repeatedly asked about it. “We are pleased that the statement that came out of the G8 was a balanced statement,” Harper said. The resolution expressed “strong support” for Obama’s vision set out in the speech, and called for a new round of negotiations.
Misrata fights rage on
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces fired mortars and guns at rebel forces in an apparent effort to break through a stalemated line west of the rebel-held city of Misrata on Sunday, CNN reported. More than 25 opposition fighters have been wounded in the battle so far, medics at a field hospital told CNN. They did not report any deaths, but fighters returning from the battle said two men had been killed.